Over the years I’ve asked myself why I keep going back to online dating.
I mean, I’ve had some pretty disastrous and disappointing experiences and yet, whenever I feel sorry about my perpetual singleness, I always go back. I revamp my profile, select some attractice photos, and try to play the numbers game, hoping, wishing, that this time will result in a meaningful relationship.
So, I signed myself up for an eHarmony account this time (because that bad was just a fluke, right?) and was matched with Sean, an engineer originally from the Chicago area. After several weeks of communication, we agreed to meet at Julius Meinl, an Austrian-style coffeehouse near my apartment.
And things actually seemed to be going well. He was funny, fascinating, and, most importantly, interested in me.
At the end of the night, we stood outside the coffehouse, said our farewells, and I prepared to walk the short distance back to my apartment. He asked if I wanted a ride home, I declined.
He persisted. I declined again.
He kept pushing the subject.
And then I did something stupid: I got in the car with him.
Apparently 23-year old me lacks a sense of self-preservation.
But, don’t worry, as someone who is always prepared, I had pepper spray in my hand and a pocket knife in my purse.
Thankfully, my momentary lapse of judgement didn’t have negative consequence and Sean ensured that I made it back into my apartment safely. Before I got out of the car, he asked if he could see me again. I agreed because even though he’d been adamant about driving me home, he was just worried about my safety, right?
Sean and I went on a few more dates and as I spent more time with him it became exceedingly clear that Sean had some issues with the word “no.” If I refused or declined a request, he would attempt to change my answer through attempting to talk me into it or continuously asking the question over and over until he got his way. He seemed to have endless patience.
I mean, this method obviously worked. I’d gotten into the car with him, after all.
This all came to a head after getting dinner together one evening. After we’d eaten, we walked back to my apartment to pick up the bag he’d left at my place. I figured he’d grab his bag, wish me a goodnight, and leave.
Apparently we didn’t have the same idea.
Instead, he walked into my apartment, closed the door, and took a very comfortable seat on my couch.
Since it was late, I attempted to use the “hey, I have to work in the morning…” and “my roommate is sleeping” excuses.
No such luck.
Instead, he pats the cushion next to him, all inviting like, and tells me he wants to talk. So, I sit down.
And find that he apparently he didn’t actually want to talk. Oh, no, no, no, there were certainly no words involved in what he wanted to do.
I guess “talk” is a euphemism for “making out”?
Now, I typically have no issues with setting boundaries and enforcing them, but something told me to tread lightly in this situation. My father has always told me to trust my feelings (and my inclinations have yet to be wrong) and there was something off about Sean that worried me if I attempted to be more forceful in asking him to leave.
After almost two hours of light prodding and coaxing and attempting to keep his hands from wandering anywhere indecent, I finally got him to leave.
And good riddance.
Obviously, I was a bit shaken up over this ordeal. I found Sean’s inability to accept the word “no” to be rather concerning (okay, really concerning) and I knew that I need to end things.
What I knew I didn’t want to do was see him in person and I figured since we’d only been a a few dates that telling him over the phone that I didn’t see this working out would be fine, yes?
I left Sean a voicemail telling him that I had enjoyed my time with him and appreciated him taking me out but I ultimately didn’t see this working out.
It seems, however, that Sean didn’t share my feelings on ending things amicably.
When I got off work that evening I found multiple missed calls, a frustrated voicemail, AND a lengthy email detailing why we needed to stay together.
In his voicemail, Sean was upset that I wanted to end things and he demanded I call him back. However, based on how well he had taken lesser issues when I disagreed with him, I knew he would just spend the entire phone conversation badgering me to keep dating him.
No, thank you.
The email, however, was much more detailed.
Over 1,000 words, Sean told me that he knew what was best for this relationship and that my decision to stop dating was wrong. He went on to say that he felt called by God to maintain our relationship and that he wouldn’t have allowed the “physical side” (e.g., making out) of our relationship had he not believed this relationship would turn into marriage. He ended with the same demand I call him back to work things out.
Now, while his email never explicitly said it, reading between the lines of his email worried me that he was going to stop by my apartment if I didn’t call him to attempt to work things out.
As I’m sure you can imagine, that was utterly terrifying.
I responded with a terse, yet polite, email telling him my decision was firm and asked him to respect my decision that I no longer wanted to date him.
And then I crossed my fingers and hoped that he wasn’t crazy.
In the meantime, I warned my roommate to be on the lookout for him and we waited with baited breath to see if he tried to contact me again.
Except for one phone call (without a voicemail), thankfully he didn’t.
That was also the time we asked our landlord to install a peephole in our door (can you believe we didn’t have one? Goodness).
Since Sean, I’ve been very aware of forward or aggressive a guy is toward me and others. If he can’t respect my opinions, decisions, or life choices, or tells me the way in which I live my life is wrong (cause, yes, I have been told this), I stop seeing them. I respect that other people have their own ideas and beliefs and, while I enjoy friendly and positive discussions, being with someone who respects me enough to listen and understand my ideas is equally as important. I ultimately need to be with someone who is respectful and an excellent communicator. What I don’t need is someone trying to control how I act, think, or live my life. I am who I am and I’m proud of that and I need someone who appreciates me for me, not someone who wants to control me.